As a wave of voice assisted technology is starting to dominate our homes and workplaces, Amazon’s Alexa update is now even making printing your documents and photos hands-free.
If you are one of the 60 million predicted people who use voice assisted technology on a regular basis, then you’ll know of the ease they provide. From online shopping, streaming music and even answering everyday questions, they can provide us with some convenient solutions. Now, Amazon and HP are hoping to bring simplicity to another everyday process – printing. Whether it’s printing a random puzzle or even a calendar to plan out the new year, brand new HP skills on Alexa makes HP the “first printer company to enable intuitive voice commands on leading smart speaker platforms”, as detailed in a new Garage by HP blog post.
Hands Free Printing
Regularly seen as the forefront of new innovations in the printing industry, HP are hoping that voice controlled printing through Amazon Alexa only marks the beginning of their venture into creating voice assistants for their own products. Commenting on the relevance between voice aided technology and digital printing, Anneliese Olson, head of home printing at HP, states “Integrating voice into the home printer is an undeniably useful application of the technology. “For busy families, the virtual assistant ecosystem makes a lot of sense and connecting a printer to it is a natural extension within the smart home.”
If the premise of creating print after print by only using your voice sounds exciting, you can try it for yourself by reading through HP’s step-by-step guide on setting up your printer with Amazon Alexa here. Of course, you’ll need to own a device which uses the Amazon Alexa voice assistant and to set up the correct skills within the Alexa mobile app or computer application first. Examples of what the HP printing skills can print are: shopping lists, task lists, colouring pages, Sudoku puzzles, bingo cards, notebook paper pages, checklists and calendars. More templates are being added further down the line.
Creating More Voices
Creating a set of skills for Alexa isn’t HP’s first foray into voice technology. Whilst it might have initially slipped under the radar, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant can also be taught to print documents from HP printers. The ability was first activated for the Google Assistant in May last year, with the feature also being rolled out to Cortana enabled devices last October. Each assistant has their limitations however – Google’s Assistant can print Google Calendars, where as Microsoft’s Cortana can’t. In the same capacity, Cortana is also able to print Microsoft exclusive products that Google’s Assistant is unable to.
With this newest addition to Alexa’s capabilities, it’s difficult not to see voice control become the norm for homes and workplaces in the years to come. Whether that will become a daunting or thrilling prospect for many, remains to be seen for now.
The Garage – HP says hello to voice activated printing